Can you believe it's nearly Thanksgiving already. While I generally don't do much of the actual heavy duty Thanksgiving Day cooking, I do tackle dessert preparations (as well as cleanup duties for that matter).
This year, I'll be adding something new to the dessert table with these easy decorative napkins.
(Note: I used acrylic paint for this project because that's what I had on hand. Fabric paints are more permanent and can be found at most crafts stores).
You'll also need a handful of leaves which will serve as the stencil. Of course, you can find this particular supply in abundance just about everywhere.
I was inspired to create this project after taking in the beautiful sights of fall. The trees this time of year are such a glorious mix of yellow, red, orange and brown.
There is so much beauty in an Autumn landscape with all the varied and brilliant tree color. This is absolutely my favorite season.
When gathering your leaves for this project, you'll want to use a few freshly fallen leaves that haven't completely dried out. If the leaves are too dry they will be too crispy and will likely crumble before you even get started on the project.
You can always tap a few pint-size leaf spotters to help find the perfect pile.
Be sure to select several different leaf shapes to give the project some variety.
Few leaves are completely damage-free but I think the small imperfections found throughout the leaf help add interest, texture and a more natural look to the finished project.
Once you've gathered all your leaves, you may want to place them under a stack of heavy books overnight so they can flatten out. The flatter the leaf surface, the more even the paint will cover the leaf.
Start by painting the back of the leaf with the acrylic paint. The backside makes a better paint impression because the wonderful leaf veins are much more prominent on the back.
For a more natural looking appearance, consider mixing up the acrylic paint color a bit. Try brushing a contrasting paint color around the edges of your leaf as an extra touch.
Learn from my mistake tip: If your contrasting paint color around the edges is the same color as the napkins, (yellow in this case) remember to paint the contrasting edges first and then add the overall paint. Otherwise the contrasting paint edging will simply blend in with the napkin, since that color touches the fabric first.)
Place the leaf paint-side down on the napkin. Put a sheet of paper over the leaf and then roll the rubber brayer over the leaf outline. The brayer will press the image of the painted leaf onto the napkin. How many of you remember doing this as a kid?
Lift carefully to see the painted impression. As you can see in the photo below, the yellow paint edging is lost in the color of the napkin, but I'll remember my own advice next time.
Add even more variety and interest to the project by alternating the colors you choose for your leaf arrangement.
Repeat the process along the bottom of the napkin until you have the desired look.
As you can see in the photo below, you can achieve a wonderful variation by using several different leaf shapes.
While I painted a single row of leaves along the bottom of this project, you could certainly mix up the arrangement with a leaf border all the way around or even scatter the impression throughout the entire napkin for an overall look.
This is the kind of project that could be applied to a number of items for a fun seasonal look.
Consider a tablecloth border, totes, t-shirts, canvas aprons or perhaps even a plain lampshade-if you're in the mood for additional quick and easy holiday decor.
This year, instead of raking those falling leaves, why not consider something more fun?
In the meantime, here's hoping you have a delightful (and creative) Thanksgiving holiday.